Stomach cramps are a common health issue in men that can have a variety of causes depending on the severity and accompanying symptoms.
The stomach itself is just one important organ in your digestive system, which also includes your appendix, intestines, gallbladder, liver, pancreas and rectum.
Sometimes, stomach cramps may not be in your stomach at all but come from somewhere else in your gastrointestinal tract.
However, most cases of stomach cramps in men tend to be mild and resolve on their own within a few days or less.
But recurring, ongoing, or more severe stomach cramps could warrant medical attention or even require a trip to the emergency room.
What are mild causes of stomach cramps in men?
Most cases of stomach cramps tend to be mild. These tend to be more temporary (acute), and the pain and discomfort aren’t as severe.
Mild causes of stomach cramps may include:
Indigestion: Along with stomach cramps, you may experience heartburn and bloating after eating. Take antacids or eat slower to help with this pain.
Eating too much: When you eat large meals or overeat your digestive system has to work harder to process all the food you consume, this may be worse at night, especially if you eat a large meal before bedtime.
Occasional bowel movement disruptions: These can include constipation and diarrhea. Drinking water, eating enough fiber, and exercising can help.
Gas and bloating: Both symptoms can be signs of constipation and diarrhea, which can also cause stomach cramps. Eating slower may help.
Stress or anxiety: Occasional or prolonged stress and anxiety can turn your stomach into knots, creating pain and discomfort. Relaxation techniques can help, but seek professional help if your mental health doesn’t improve.
Exercising on a full stomach: Eating too much food (and too soon) before your workout can cause uncomfortable cramps. Smaller meals at least an hour before exercising can help.
Muscle strains: Sometimes, a core workout can leave both your abdominal and back muscles feeling sore several hours later. Stay hydrated and stretch after your workout when muscles are warm.
Causes Of Stomach Cramps In Men
While most mild causes of stomach cramps tend to resolve on their own at home without needing to see a doctor. Severe causes will likely require medical attention. They may include,
Appendicitis: Appendicitis is a painful condition caused by an inflamed appendix, an organ located on the lower right side of the abdomen. Other symptoms include, loss of appetite, vomiting, fever
A bowel obstruction occurs when portions of your intestines become closed off. This can interfere with digestion and nutrient absorption.
Inflammatory bowel diseases, hernias, and tumors are all possible causes. Along with severe stomach cramps, you may also experience:
Dehydration, bloating, lack of appetite, inability to pass stools
With gallstones, your cramps tend to form along the right side of your stomach.
The pain tends to be severe, can last for hours, and may radiate to your right shoulder and back.
Gallbladder removal surgery is the best way to treat this condition.
Kidney stones are also characterized by severe ongoing pain. The pain may also extend to your groin. Other symptoms include painful urination and nausea.
This can be a medical emergency that may be treated with medications to help pass small kidney stones or a procedure for larger ones.
Viral and bacterial infections
Rotaviruses and food poisoning from spoiled food can cause stomach cramps along with severe diarrhea and vomiting.
Most cases improve after a day or two. If your condition gets worse, see your doctor.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
IBD is a chronic condition characterized by flare-ups that cause damage to the gastrointestinal tract.
The two types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both may cause: Abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea and bloody stools.
Mild, temporary cases of stomach cramps may be treated at home with a combination of over-the-counter (OTC) remedies and lifestyle changes.
Over-the-counter (OTC) remedies
Depending on the underlying cause, you may be able to use certain OTC remedies for stomach cramps. These include:
Antacids for heartburn
Fiber for constipation
Acetaminophen, for muscle strains
Certain habits may help alleviate mild causes of stomach cramps.
Eating more fiber can help treat constipation.
Exercise and drinking more water may help promote healthier bowel movements while also alleviating bloating.
Eating smaller meals (and more slowly) may reduce bloating and indigestion.
Avoiding trigger foods may help reduce heartburn, indigestion, and IBS symptoms.
Managing your mental health can also help decrease stress and anxiety. Relaxation methods along with therapy can help if these conditions are regularly contributing to your stomach cramps.
When Should You See A Doctor?
If you experience severe or chronic stomach cramps, see a doctor for further evaluation. As a rule of thumb, any symptom that seems unusual and persists for a long time should be addressed.
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